Madrid to Malaga

Travel from Madrid to Malaga is easy by train from Madrid Atocha Station. The train station boasts excellent high-speed AVE train links to connect Madrid to Malaga Maria Zembrano Station in Malaga. There are approximately 12 direct high-speed trains every day (in each direction!). The journey takes just 2 hours 30 minutes. And because Malaga’s train station is close to the city centre, you’ll be in the heart of the city in no time. Facilities also include car hire so if you’re planning to continue on to another beach town on the Costa del Sol, you’ll be able to collect one here.

For more information on taking the high-speed AVE service from Madrid, see our guide to departing on the AVE from Madrid Atocha Station. But if you’d rather drive from Madrid to Malaga with the convenience of your own car, see our Madrid Atocha car rental guides. Many car hire suppliers also offer one-way rentals within Spain, which is worth considering if you’d rather start and finish your trip in a different location.

Best in Malaga travel

Malaga at twilight Madrid to Malaga | Malaga Travel Guide |

Malaga at twilight including the Gibralfaro fortress

For many visitors, Malaga is the jumping-off point for popular beach resorts in the Costa del Sol. But Malaga makes a fantastic city break destination as well as a good base to explore the surrounding area. It also has some lovely beaches around it such as Malagueta Beach. It’s also a lively city with a lots of cultural sites and offers a great mix of city and beach life. For the best views of the city, head to Gibralfaro, a hilltop castle and fortress. You can enjoy incredible panoramic views of the city from its city walls and even on the walk up the hill. The Gothic cathedral in the historic centre is another top highlight. The historic part of the city also hosts the Picasso Museum and is a great place for dining out.

Malaga also has a busy commercial centre, which is good for shopping. And the modernised area around the port is another great place for a stroll in the city. It’s also where you’ll find the Centre Pompidou Malaga, a modern art museum related to the Paris original.

Best beyond Malaga

Ronda | Madrid to Malaga | Malaga Travel Guide |

Ronda, Andalucia

Malaga is the gateway to the Costa del Sol, one of the most visited stretches of coast in Spain. Marbella, Fuengirola and Torremolinos to the west of Malaga are amongst the most popular resorts. To the east of the city, Nerja, Torre del Mar and Almuñecar are also popular with beach lovers.

In addition to great beaches, Andalucia is also famous for its picturesque hilltop towns. They’re often referred to as ‘Pueblos Blancos’ (white villages in English) because many of the buildings are whitewashed. Arcos de la Frontera, Grazalema, Antequera and Casares are some of the best rated Pueblos Blancos in Andalucia. Ronda is another standout town that’s easily accessible from Malaga. The town has a dramatic location on a plateau with a 150m drop to a gorge. Other important cities in the region include Granada, Seville and Cordoba. With so much to see, you’ll be torn between a day at the beach and a day exploring!

Malaga Airport is the nearest airport and operates a wide range of domestic and international routes. Like Malaga Maria Zembrano Station, the airport is a good place to return a car hire if you’re ending your trip here.